INDONESIA: President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, has acknowledged that his image has been widely used on billboards (baliho) in the lead-up to the 2024 Presidential Election (Pilpres).
Speaking during the Annual Session of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the People’s Representative Council (DPR), and the Regional Representative Council (DPD) of the Republic of Indonesia, at Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday (16 Aug), President Jokowi highlighted that his photos have been prominently displayed alongside potential presidential candidates.
He humorously noted that such utilization is a common fate for presidents, using a term from Javanese culture that refers to being exploited for various purposes.
“Although I understand, it has become the fate of a president to be exploited as a ‘paten-patenan’, in Javanese language. Used as an excuse, used as a shield, even though the campaign hasn’t started, my photo is widely displayed everywhere,” said Jokowi.
“While I understand that this has become the fate of a president to be used as a sort of ‘patent’ in Javanese language, to be used as an excuse, to be used as a shield, even though the campaign hasn’t officially started, my photos are being displayed everywhere,” President Jokowi remarked during the event at the Parliament Complex in Senayan, Jakarta.
Despite the extensive use of his image, President Jokowi expressed that he doesn’t mind the practice. He even welcomed it, stating, “But it’s not just my photo alone; it’s paired with a presidential candidate. I believe it’s not a problem, it’s perfectly fine.”
The billboards featuring President Jokowi’s image have been observed not only in association with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) potential presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo but also alongside the Chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto. These billboards have been emerging in preparation for the upcoming 2024 General Elections (Pemilu).
In response to President Jokowi’s statements, Prabowo Subianto, when asked about the matter, commented, “What was his (Jokowi’s) latest comment? He said it’s okay, right? It’s allowed.”
Prabowo also addressed Jokowi’s remarks about Indonesia’s low debt among G20 and ASEAN member states, affirming his intention to continue poverty alleviation programs that had been a focus of Jokowi’s administration.
“Earlier, the President emphasized accelerating poverty reduction, it must be sped up, right? There are things we need to fix, so overall, it’s extraordinary, and we are proud,” Prabowo noted.
President Jokowi also touched upon the term ‘Pak Lurah’ (neighborhood head), which has gained traction in various chat groups and social media platforms. He noted that as the country enters the political year leading up to the 2024 General Elections, the political climate has heated up.
“We have entered the political year, and the trend among politicians and political parties is to wait for directions from ‘Pak Lurah’ (neighborhood head),” President Jokowi remarked.
However, President Jokowi asserted that he is not the “Pak Lurah” who determines the direction of coalition-building and the selection of presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the 2024 Presidential Election.
He emphasized that these decisions lie with political parties and their coalitions. “I am not the neighborhood head; I am the President of the Republic of Indonesia,” he firmly stated, earning applause and enthusiasm from the attendees.
Jokowi emphasized that the term “Pak Lurah” is actually a code referring to him, acknowledging the humor with laughter from the audience.
The President reiterated that he does not possess the authority to decide on presidential and vice-presidential candidates or political coalitions for the upcoming election.
As Indonesia moves closer to the 2024 Presidential Election, these developments reflect the dynamic political landscape and the anticipation surrounding potential candidates and alliances.
(Video: The documentary of CNN Indonesia)